Q&A: Roger Woolsey
Graduating senior Laurel Duggan sat down with new Director of the Career Center Roger Woolsey to talk about the services Colby will add and what Colby grads do when they leave. Duggan didn't have a job when they talked, but she does now.
What are you looking to do in your new role in the Career Center?
When I looked at the Career Center, I had to identify the student body here. And I refer to ... you students as the MOVERS—it’s an acronym. M stands for multicultural. Thirteen-point-four percent of our student body is minority students. I think around two thirds of our students go abroad. O stands for online. I think on average the students I’ve spoken to spend anywhere between eighteen and twenty-two hours per week, plus or minus, online. V stands for versatile. You are versatile because you are juggling studying, extracurricular activities, and having a social life. E stands for energetic. In order to be involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, and off-campus engagement, you have to have energy. R stands for responsive. Students here at Colby are responsive to new technologies and certain advertisements. So, I refer to you as the MOVERS. Do you think I got it right?
Uh-huh. What’s the S though?
S stands for social. You have a lot of different social clubs and organizations. You’re also very social in the classroom, student groups, etcetera. And also you engage the faculty.
So how do you plan to tailor your changes to suit Colby students?
I created a campaign called Colby Connect. ... Colby Connect is an inclusive initiative where you are a part of the Career Center. You register to be a member of the Career Center, so you’re meeting us halfway. I think the students feel better if they take the initiative, and they get something more in return. With this registration you get our newsletter, you have priority registration for workshops, presentations by alumni and by parents, priority registration to meet with recruiters, priority registration to off-campus visits. ... Colby Connect creates a four-year plan for students. The freshman year is connect to self and community. Sophomore year is connect to skills. Third year, junior year, is connect to careers, and the fourth year is connect to the future.
How does it work, in practice?
As students register to be part of Colby Connect they get a portfolio case, a nice portfolio bag. In that portfolio case, obviously by the end of your senior year, you’re going to have your cover letters, résumé, writing samples, and certificates of accomplishment for four years of being a member of Colby Connect. So inside this portfolio case we will put a bunch of workshops that the students should complete before finishing their first year, a series of presentations they should see or be a part of before the end of, for instance, their sophomore year, and then, every year, we’ll have these different achievements.
When will Colby Connect start?
Most of this is going to be launched before orientation for the incoming class, but also sophomores, juniors, and seniors can register with Colby Connect … and we’ll get them moving right away. By signing up with our services, we’re guaranteeing you that you will be better prepared for postgraduate careers. And you’ll be better prepared with your application process for graduate programs.
What about internships and job shadowing? What are Colby kids doing now?
Internships are broad. I’ve just had some students now who have interviewed for some internships in public relations. I’ve also had some students who are interested in interning in Hollywood, doing media sales, for example. There’s a student who’s going to be interning at a hospital and working with a surgeon this year. I think we’re seeing a lot more students now much more concerned with environmentalism and looking for organizations specifically in that niche. But, we’re also seeing a lot of students who want to intern in finance, intern in PR, intern with publishing companies—that’s huge—or the fine arts stuff. So we’re seeing a lot of that as well. It’s more or less across the board.
We’ve talked a lot about what the kids are like at Colby, but what are recent Colby alums doing, and where are they doing it, for the most part?
Colby alums are a diverse group as well. ... They’re all over the place. We have a lot of alums that are in finance banking or in finance period, which is across the spectrum. We have a lot of young alums who are going through medical school and residency right now. We also have older alums who are surgeons and doctors, veterinarians, dentists, oral surgeons, etc. We have alums who are teaching overseas … and domestically. We have alums who are working in environmental agencies and organizations. We also have alums that are going on to M.B.A. programs, getting their master’s in business administration.
Have the trends among Colby alumni changed over the years?
I believe that Bro [Colby President William “Bro” Adams] is taking internationalism to a new level and making us more visible internationally. Therefore the Career Center now is going to be working with alums and helping students with internships abroad, perhaps some employment opportunities, but also working with Off-Campus Study to provide internship credits and internship experiences overseas.
What about the expansion of the Colby Alumni Network? Is that connected to your goals?
That’s something that I think students need to be aware of—how unique that is to have such a strong alumni network at Colby. Not every college can brag about that. And these alumni want to help, they want to serve the community. We want to expand that. What we want to do is bring alumni to campus and give them an opportunity to conduct workshops, but workshops out of the box. But we also want the alumni, and they’re going to be doing this, to open up their doors for job shadowing and for internship opportunities for students. They really want to help in that way as well.